Getting ready for exhibiting at a trade show often feels overwhelming. There are so many items on your checklist, from travel arrangements to setting up your trade show exhibit, and many more. Not to mention, all this time pulling you away from your day-to-day job responsibilities.
Tips for Your Next Trade Show
All that being said, we have a few useful tips for your next trade show to make it go as smoothly as possible. Here are a few that we have experienced over the years that may help you…
Trade Show Tip #1 – Book Your Hotel Reservations Directly with the Hotel
I don’t recommend using one of the many hotel and airfare discount websites to book your reservations. Cut out the middleman and book directly with your hotel of choice. Often times, it’s the same price as those other websites anyway, but if you need to change your reservations for any reason (especially if you’re in a pinch), you’ll be thankful you can deal with the hotel directly, and this alone will pay dividends. Otherwise you risk the hotel attendant telling you your issue needs to be handled with the discount travel site and there is nothing they can do.
Trade Show Tip #2 – Palletize and Ship Everything Together
The last thing you need when planning a busy trade show is for your booth collateral to get lost are not show up. Often times, you’re shipping your trade show exhibit freight, your product samples, promotional products, and a bunch of other materials. Typically, you can save money by shipping everything together on a pallet and then shrink-wrapping it so all the boxes and items stay together.
This is especially helpful if you have an exhibit frame packed in multiple boxes. Just imagine what would happen if only four out of five boxes arrived! That would mean your entire frame system couldn’t be used, thanks to that missing box. Just ask me! That almost happened to us when one box was misdelivered out of a total of six boxes needed to put one giant trade show hanging sign together. Won’t make that mistake again!
Trade Show Tip #3 – Use a Trade Show Tower Instead of a Hanging Sign
Utilize a tall trade show tower to get your company name and branding high in the air. Depending on your booth size, you may want to use a tower in place of a trade show hanging sign to save on rigging fees, which can be expensive. Some of our own towers, like the Blimp Waveline Towers actually come with a top sign, giving you the best of both worlds by looking great and saving money!
Trade Show Tip #4 – Use Hard Travel Cases That Convert to Trade Show Counters
Kill two birds with one stone by utilizing Hard Travel Cases with wheels to not only pack, store, and ship your booth materials but also convert to a stylish trade show counter.
Our CA700 Hard Case-To-Counter Graphic Package with wheels is a great option. It saves you time and money and can also ship standard UPS or FedEx. Another one would be the Hard Trolley Case with Custom Printed Graphic. Both options are great and will combine the shipping case need with a professional custom trade show counter.
Trade Show Tip #5 – Use An Electric Meter to Gauge Your Electricity Usage
It can be hard to know how much electricity to order for your trade show booth.
Getting an exact usage of all your combined needs for your computers, backlit exhibits, TVs, and more will help you make sure to order a sufficient level of electricity in your trade show booth space. This helps you avoid ordering too much and needlessly wasting money.
You can purchase a simple meter online and begin accurately tracking.
Trade Show Tip #6 – Set up Booth Appointments Ahead of Time
You want your booth space to be busy and stay busy. One way to do this is to schedule appointments ahead of time with your business contacts and customers. Success builds on success, and having your booth full of people will attract the attention of other trade show attendees. They’ll then be more likely to take interest in your booth and come talk to you.
Trade Show Tip #7 – Share a Booth Space with a Complementary Business
Leverage your business with another company that doesn’t directly compete, is related to your business, and that is also wanting to make a presence at the show. Pull resources and share a larger booth space than you would normally get on your own. This will open possibilities for booth locations on the show floor and boost your prominence. Finding a way to cross-pollinate can be a great — and smart — way to have a successful show while minimizing costs.
Trade Show Tip #8 – Always Try to Ship Your Booth to the Advance Shipment Warehouse (Instead of Direct to Show Site)
While it may not always be possible, try to prepare using enough time to send your freight packages to the Advanced Shipment Warehouse with proper labels rather than directly to the show. The Advance Warehouse has a MUCH larger date range to allow for the receiving of packages and freight. You will sleep easier knowing your packages have arrived and will be at your booth when you walk in for setup.
Trade Show Tip #9 – Make Sure You Can Cover up the Ugly Pipe and Drape in Your Booth
You may already know this one, but if you don’t plan for your own graphics in your trade show exhibits, you’re most likely left with “pipe and drape” which separates you from your neighbors on the sides and back. It’s not the most attractive material, so you’ll want a nice and modern-looking display like a backlit trade show wall and potentially something for the sidewalls. This not only covers up the pipe and drape but helps to brand your space and make it look professional.
Trade Show Tip #10 – Make Sure to Reserve Your Booth for Next Year
If you like your current booth location and size, many shows will give you the first right of refusal to renew that same booth and location, provided you reserve it by a certain date.
Don’t lose your competitive advantage and let it fall into the hands of one of your competitors. I’m sure the show will remind you about this, but it is a good tip to remember, especially if it’s one of your major industry trade shows.
Hope you found these 10 trade show tips useful!